Hip-Hop, Ancient Culture, and Tattoos: Kid Needle's Fusion of Passions
Welcome to the tattoo world of Kid Needle, where every piece tells a story. In this interview, get acquainted with the artist's origins in South Korea, their artistic evolution, and the fusion of influences that shape their distinctive style. From fine lines to ancient statues, Kid Needle discusses the art of composition, memorable tattoo exchanges, and the aspirations that drive their passion for the craft.
Please tell our readers a little about yourself. Where are you from? And where do you work now?
- Hello, my name is Kid Needle, and I mainly specialize in black and gray genres such as micro-realism, fine lines, ancient statues, and portraits. I was born and raised in South Korea, and I currently work in Hongdae, Seoul.
Who was your teacher, and who inspires you now?
- I've mostly learned how to draw on my own, and I've learned a lot about tattoo skills mainly from my best friend and colleague @gody_tattoo. The person who inspires me the most is @gody_tattoo and @gangatattoo.
Is tattooing art, a job, or something else for you?
- Tattoos are both an art and, obviously, a profession. It's an attractive profession to carve a piece of art together with your ideas and my own style.
Your tattoos are highly detailed, yet mostly in a smaller scale. Can you share how you manage to work so effectively in such a small format? Is there a secret?
- It's actually simple. If you use thin needles, small-scale tattoos can be drawn in great detail. But these days, I'm more attracted to large-scale tattoos, so I'm trying to get bigger ones.
Your tattoos often reflect influences from ancient culture, but when looking at portrait works, there's almost always someone from the hip-hop scene. Can you explain how these two passions coexist in you?
- I was into hip hop when I was about 12 years old through the rapper "Kid Ink," and as many people know, he has a lot of different tattoos. He had a portrait tattoo on his chest, after seeing that, I was fascinated by it, so I bought a tattoo machine and fake skin, and started learning tattooing at 13. Hip-hop music is the culture I admired and that made me start tattooing, so both tattoo and hip hop passion can coexist.
Which themes do you prefer? And where do you draw inspiration from?
- At first, I was very attracted to Chicano tattoos, but when I learned a lot about tattoos, the statue tattoos were so cool that tattoos reflect a lot of ancient culture.
What is the most important aspect of tattooing for you?
- There are many important aspects of tattoos, but the most important thing these days is composition. No matter how cool the tattoo is, if the composition is a problem, it will eventually look weird.
Do you have favorite tattoos, clients, projects, or perhaps some unusual stories in your career?
- One of the most intense parts of my tattooing career was exchanging tattoos with Kid Ink. I once drew a huge portrait of him, and it eventually reached him, so he got to know me, and he told me he wanted my tattoo work. So we tattooed each other.
How about tattoo conventions? Can you share your experience?
- I think tattoo convention is a great experience for different artists from different countries to come together and share tattoos. But it's a bit hectic because there are so many people and It's too busy haha.
How do you assess your popularity? And what, in your opinion, can measure it?
- The number of followers and likes is not all about popularity, but it seems to be an indicator of how popular it is.
What else do you do besides tattooing?
- I used to work at a McDonald's when I was a student, but now tattoo is only a job.
What is the most important thing in a tattoo artist's career for you? What goals do you set for yourself? Share your creative plans for the near future.
- I think the most important thing in an artist's career is experience. This is something that penetrates every profession and life, and I think it's the most important thing. I want to be known to more people and acknowledged by them, and I want to brand myself and create my own tattoo studio one day.